Chief reason to visit: Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is the closest thing Cape Town has to a rock star chef – and with good reason. Combining culinary braggadocio and classical technique, his food would stand out in any of the world’s gastronomic capitals, but in the South African city it’s pretty much unique.
What’s the vibe? Informal, industrial chic. Channelling the artsy, edgy vibe of Woodstock, the neighbourhood where it’s based, The Test Kitchen is a low-lit, almost clubby space of exposed brickwork, hanging pipes and leather-backed seats, where the cooking – carried out in an open plan kitchen – is the star turn.
A few words on the chef: UK-born Dale-Roberts trained at Baur Au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, was executive sous chef at Soho House Media Club where he cooked for the rich and famous, and has headed kitchens all across Asia. These experiences have contributed to a bold, inventive global style.
Typical dishes: Most plates arrive with a theatrical flourish but the “Light Curry Glazed” signature is the most memorable on the tasting menu: the local fish first arrives, steaming between two concrete flowers pots, sitting on charcoal, before it is plated and brought back atop a carrot and cashew purée, finished with carrot beurre noisette.
Other ventures: Dale-Roberts has two other ventures within the same Old Biscuit Mill complex in Cape Town: Pot Luck club is the Test Kitchen’s more relaxed sibling, serving global-inflected sharing plates, while the newly opened Naturalis, is focused, Ottolenghi-esque deli-style dining.